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'Infant mortality rate not declining fast enough'

October 09, 2006 15:28 IST

At the current rate of decline in the under-5 Infant Mortality Rate, India is not likely to achieve the Millennium Development GoalĀ of bringing down the IMR to 40 per 1,000 live births for the year 2015, according to a UNICEF report.

The MDG for India for the year 2015 is 41 per 1,000 live births, which cannot be attained at the current pace of decline, the report said.

Though the IMR had been declining for the past years, it stood at 60 per 1,000 live births currently, it said adding, the Maternal Mortality Ratio is currently 407 per 1 lakh live births in the country.

The highest number of child and maternal deaths occur in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Orissa, the report said.

The Norway-India partnership initiative, which was based on India's ambitious new health initiative -- National Rural Health Mission -- would be focussing on these five states, it said.

These five states together contribute almost 60 percent of infant deaths and pose an enormous challenge in implementation because of the socio-economic status, large inequalities, weak health system and poor programme management capacity, the report said.

India's success in achieving MDG depends on the effectiveness of the child health programmes in these five states, it went on to add.

The report said NIPI for MDG would provide technical cooperation at a cost of around $80 millionĀ for five years from 2006-2010.

According to the report, the input would complement the national efforts and stimulate acceleration of the NHRM implementation for MDG by providing flexible support to enable implementation and innovation to resolve bottlenecks.

The initiative would test and introduce new ways of scaling up quality services by community health workers known as Accredited Social Health Activist at the village level in the five focus states, it said.

It is proposed to develop a Child Health Resource Network with nodes in the five focus states linked to a national centre, the report said.

The CHRN will conduct rapid and in-depth studies in select areas considered crucial to the effective scale-up of the child health strategies, it said.

The report has expressed serious concern over the unsatifactory pace of Integrated Management of New-born and Childhood Illness scaling up owing to a lack of understanding and a severe shortage of trainers.

It also said the time had come to introduce IMNCI in the curriculum of undergraduate medical (MBBS) students.

A significant feature of NIPI was to rope in the private sector for delivering MDG-related services, the report added.

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